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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] The New Flag of Iraq The adoption by the Governing Council of Iraq of a new flag has been received with mixed feelings by Iraqis and Arabs in general. The majority have expressed rejection of this flag; some for sentimental reasons and some for logical reasons. Most agree that the IGC is an illegal entity which the international community has refused to recognize, because it was appointed by an illegal occupation power, which attacked Iraq in violation of international law. It therefore has no business interfering in symbols of Iraq’s sovereignty. The flag of Iraq has been referred to as “Saddam’s flag”, and especially Kurdish leaders have refused to fly it since 1991. They have instead flown their own flags, depending on which faction and tribe they belong to. It seems evident that the change of the flag was the demand of the Kurdish leaders, with the support of the occupation power. At the conclusion of the conference for “Iraqi national reconciliation” convened in Arbil at the end of March 2004, its host Mas’oud Barzani called for the adoption of a new flag that would “reflect Iraq’s new reality”, stating further that “the existing flag symbolizes the regime of Saddam who came to power through a military coup”. Mr. Barzani must know that he was not telling the truth, as must know other officials of his group, who repeat the same lies. Iraqis know for a fact that the existing flag was not adopted by Saddam Hussein nor introduced by him. It was the flag adopted in 1963, after the overthrow of the rule of Abdul-Kareem Qassim, who himself came to power through a military coup. The three stars symbolize the union between Iraq, Egypt and Syria; a dream that never came true. In 1991, Saddam added the words “Allahu Akbar” / God is the Greatest; something Iraqi rather welcomed. Barzani further explained that the four colors of the existing flag (red, white, black and three green stars) do not reflect the composition of the Iraqi nation, and that under this flag four thousand Kurdish villages were destroyed. Barzani also explained that the flag of the monarchy carried two stars reflecting the two main ethnic groups in Iraq: Arabs and Kurds. This is another one of Barzani’s fabrications, perhaps because Barzani was too young to comprehend the symbolism of the stars in the monarchy flag, or perhaps he was not able to understand that the Monarchy constitution did not refer to Iraq’s ethnic groups, because all Iraqis were considered equal. The two stars in the Monarchy flag symbolized the two great rivers and were heptagrams (seven-pointed), symbolizing the 14 governorates of Iraq at that time. If we are to get rid of the flag because a dictator ruled and killed people under it, should we also destroy buildings built by similar dictators? Should mosques, schools, hospitals etc.. built by Saddam also be destroyed? Should we apply the same (il)logic to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and other dictatorships? And if a military coup is grounds for rejecting the flag, why should a flag brought in by a military occupation be accepted? But perhaps most important: If the existing flag symbolizes oppression of the Kurds, why did Barzani himself seek the help of Saddam’s army in 1996, fighting under the same flag, to defeat his enemy, Talabani? Was the flag a symbol of good then??? The colors of the flag (monarchy and existing) are based on a verse from a poem of the Iraqi poet Safiyuddin al-Hilli (died 1349), which says: "White are our deeds, Black are our battles, Green are our meadows, Red are our swords" The same colors are also used in the flags of Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Egypt, the Sudan, and Yemen, who also base them on the same verse. The new flag was designed by Iraqi architect, Rifa’t al-Chadirchi, whose brother Naseer sits on the IGC as a representative of the Sunnis, and who heads the committee for the new flag. Seemingly Naseer commissioned his brother to design a new flag, without announcing a competition for the design, which also surprised Iraqi artists. Rifa’t is a very well known architect, both in Iraq and worldwide. He was commissioned by Abdul-Kareem Qassim to design the old monument for the Unknown Soldier in 1959, which was located in the now famous al-Firdous Square. He has also designed many famous buildings in Baghdad and in the Gulf states. Rifa’t’s father was Kamil al-Chadirchi, leader of the National Democratic Party; a liberal party in opposition to the rule of the monarchy. He continued his opposition to the rule of Abdul-Kareem Qassim after 1958, because he opposed the military. Rifa’t, however, was considered to have communist inclinations, seemingly under the influence of his wife, Balqis Sharara, who is a Shi’i from Kadhimiya. Naseer al-Chadirchi, a rich businessman, was also considered a communist at one point. Rifa’t’s mother is a Shi’i.. In 1979, Rifa’t was arrested by the regime, accused of taking illegal commissions from deals with foreign companies. He remained in jail over a year, and was later pardoned by Saddam and released and given the responsibility of architectural projects in Baghdad. He left Iraq in the 1980s and has not returned since. Criticism of the flag has also been directed at the choice of colors. Many have voiced their view that the proposed flag carries the colors of the Israeli flag; something the IGC also noticed and asked Chadirchi to touch up the blue to darken it! Some have also said that the flag is a “bastardized” version of the Israeli flag, replacing the Star of David with the Crescent!! If the flag is to be a true and honest reflecting of Iraq’s composition, why are the Christians forgotten? Why aren’t the Turkomens, Assyrians, Chaldeans and other ethnic groups represented?? It is interesting to note that even Mahmoud Uthman, member of the IGC, has stated that this is not the time to adopt a new flag. One can not but wonder if the IGC even discusses issues before laws and orders are issued!! There is also a legal dimension to the adoption or introduction of a new flag. The LAW OF ADMINISTRATION FOR THE STATE OF IRAQ FOR THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD, adopted by the Iraqi Governing Council states in paragraph three of its preamble the following: “This Law is now established to govern the affairs of Iraq during the transitional period until a duly elected government, operating under a permanent and legitimate constitution achieving full democracy, shall come into being.” Article 2 of the LAW explain the transitional period as follows: “(A) The term “transitional period” shall refer to the period beginning on 30 June 2004 and lasting until the formation of an elected Iraqi government pursuant to a permanent constitution as set forth in this Law, which in any case shall be no later than 31 December 2005, unless the provisions of Article 61 are applied.” Article 8 of the same LAW states: “The flag, anthem, and emblem of the State shall be fixed by law.” From that, it is quite evident that the IGC’s own drafted LAW does not give it the right to introduce or adopt a new flag, emblem or anthem, because that is the right of an interim government, which only comes into power AFTER 30 June 2004. And such adoption will happen by law, which a recognized government can make. Until such happens, the IGC has no right or authority to change symbols of sovereignty, regardless of what we think of the former regime. A flag is not a necktie that can be changed at will. It is an important symbol of the sovereignty of a state, and it can therefore only adopted by one. HZ __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Win a $20,000 Career Makeover at Yahoo! HotJobs http://hotjobs.sweepstakes.yahoo.com/careermakeover _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk